The Diner

Tonight I had a talk with my best friend about matters of taste. They informed me that what they think I don’t understand is that some people from/in lower classes sometimes actually have a real preference for certain things generally considered…crass or of lesser quality. They said that those people might suspect their tastes aren’t as refined or even know that, but also feel some sort of pride about it.

For example: Imagine that there’s a diner and a five star restaurant two blocks away from each other in a metropolitan area. They both serve hamburgers. Objectively the hamburgers at the five star restaurant are sublime. Hamburgers might be considered casual food but, regardless, the restaurant highly exceeds expectations. However, while the diner might not have hamburgers that are considered as good there are tons of people who would feel awkward and/or unhappy at the restaurant in the first place and would much rather eat their hamburgers at the diner. The diner feels like home to them and in its own way the diner has its own form of prestige attached to it. It might not be prestigious to those who eat at the restaurant more frequently or outsiders writing food-reviews but the locals who eat at the diner regard it highly.

…I think because of my background and where I grew-up I don’t entirely understand (as I’ve said). My friend is right. I’ve been to diners. I’ve been to rural pubs. I’ve been to dive-bars. …But the people I was raised by “liked the five star restaurant” or if it was a pub then they felt it had better be a European one. They liked eating picnics too but…never with processed foods (except for potato chips). Ha!

My mother in particular is a very humble and meek person. She’s very Scandinavian in her outlook (and down-to-earth in a Scandinavian way) but she’s also very subtly well-bred and learned. She has objectively discerning taste. Her tastes are not pretentious, instead they’re genuinely good (in a truly humble way).

The thing is…as my friend told me, a lot of those people at that diner feel self-loathing in some way, unfortunately. They’re embarrassed that they don’t like “pretentious stuff” (when they’re feeling angry they call it that) or “the finer things” (when they’re feeling kind and being more objective). The pretentious-finer things” might bore them, annoy them, make them feel unpleasant or they might just not like them BUT to “improve themselves” or prove themselves they try to like them.

…If you’re one of those folks who actually secretly or openly like the diner and you’re reading this maybe you need to give your diner preference more…value? I mean, maybe it’s not like the food there is as objectively good to someone with an experienced palette, and it’s not like one of those diners that will be on tv either. *shrug and laugh* Ok? I get it… BUT, why does everything have to be about that status? And, maybe, as long as the diner is safe, if you really like it then eating at the diner is a much more rewarding experience overall and far wiser. Sure, eat at the restaurant occasionally if you like. Respect it as the high-standard that it is. Right? But…you don’t have to like the restaurant as much. You know? Not nearly as much… Truly. Attacking the restaurant and its patrons isn’t wise because it actually is valuable too for what it is. People who have different preferences and are different people might prefer it over the diner, but…if you don’t like it have an open pride about it in a kind way. Pride because you’re just as valuable a soul as anyone.

…*sigh* So…for my own amusement here’s a list of things I suspect are “diner quality”. I don’t like them much (if at all), but I do recognize their possible worth. I’m not an idiot. Ha! What do you think? Are these “diner quality”?

– (most) chain restaurants

– regular (non health-food) grocery stores

– Avon, Mary Kay, etc.

– red roses given in a non-ironic romantic way

– non-ironically given heart-shaped jewelry

– non-ironic romantic gifts of chocolate

– boxed wines

– sugary boxed cereal

– “America’s Got Talent”, “The Bachelor”, etc.

– American football

most (not all) non-Irish or British black tea in bags

– Bath and Body Works after the year 2000 or so…

– Almost anything from Victoria’s Secret after about…2012? 2014?

– Really cheap Target/drugstore make-up like Milani or Wet & Wild

Then there are things that are so cliché that they’re almost tacky, like monogram Louis Vuitton or most Hermès…but I think due to their innate high quality (traditionally) they’re still lovely… You know? Hermès bags have lines that delight the eyes. Still, those are things I struggle with. I love them, but I feel conflicted because I worry about what messages I’m unintentionally sending people. I’m tempted to cower under the gazes of people and just find some quiet indie label of bag. Like Linjer or something… It’s like the “diner dilemma” but in a different way. Like…if the other restaurant was not quite five stars and the seats were so close together or badly arranged that people stared at you too much and it felt like a place to go to just “be seen”. *sigh*


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